Why Cooper Tire's Shares Plunged

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Although we don't believe in timing the market or panicking over market movements, we do like to keep an eye on big changes -- just in case they're material to our investing thesis.

What: Shares of tire giant Cooper Tire & Rubber (NYSE: CTB  ) were skidding off the ticker tape today, falling as much as 11% in intraday trading, after the stock was downgraded.

So what: Cooper Tire shareholders can send flowers and thank-you letters to KeyCorp analyst Brett Hoselton, who downgraded the stock from buy to hold, pointing out the looming expiration of tariffs on Chinese tire imports. With the tariff set to go away on September 26, Hoselton expects that Cooper will have to lower prices 10% to 15% to respond to competitors. For obvious reasons, that's not great for the bottom line.

Now what: Hoselton's perspective seems to be very reasonable, particularly when you consider the fact that Cooper Tire's stock, even after today's drop, is up nearly 100% from a year ago. On the other hand, the stock trades at under 15 times 2011 earnings per share, and less than eight times expected 2012 EPS. The latter ratio could rise if other analysts get on the same page as Hoselton and lower their expectations for the company's full-year earnings, but it seems like a lot of pessimism may already be built into the stock price.

As with any analyst call, it's important to remember that this is just the opinion of one person. For that reason, I find it questionable whether a 10% revaluation was really in order. However, investors certainly shouldn't ignore this warning -- if you own Cooper Tire, or have it on your radar, you'll want to make sure you have the tariff impact factored into your own expectations.

Want to keep up to date on Cooper Tire & Rubber? Add it to your watchlist.

The Motley Fool owns shares of KeyCorp. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors.

Fool contributor Matt Koppenheffer does not have a financial interest in any of the companies mentioned. You can check out what Matt is keeping an eye on by visiting his CAPS portfolio, or you can follow Matt on Twitter @KoppTheFool or Facebook. The Fool’s disclosure policy prefers dividends over a sharp stick in the eye.

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10/27/2016 4:02 PM
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